Greater Cleveland Food Bank

Hunger Facts

Facts on Hunger, Food Assistance, Poverty and Income in Our Service Area 

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank provides food and non-food items to more than 800 programs in our six county service area, consisting of Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Richland Counties.

Food Insecurity 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies households as food insecure if they experience, at some times during the year, limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.  A food insecure household does not have access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.  

  • One in six residents from our six county service area was food insecure in 2013 (17.5%).  That’s a total of 327,690 people.
  • More than one in five children from our service area lived in a food insecure household in 2013 (23.6%).  That’s more than 99,000 children.
  • Cuyahoga County had the highest number of food insecure residents in the state of Ohio in 2013, at approximately 241,400 individuals.  Cuyahoga County was also home to the largest number of food insecure children in the state of Ohio, at 66,870 children.

Want to see what hunger looks like in your area?  Click here to check out an interactive map of food insecurity throughout the United States and see how many meals went missing in your community in 2013.

Food Assistance
(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, is a federal nutrition assistance program that provides assistance to eligible, low-income households who need help supplementing their monthly food budget.  SNAP recipients are able to purchase nutritious food at grocery stores with the monthly benefits they receive.  Currently it is the largest federal program fighting hunger, with more than 46.5 million Americans enrolled in SNAP.

  • SNAP benefits lifted 3.7 million Americans above the poverty line in 2013, according to the Current Population Survey.

Want to learn about more safety net programs that kept Americans out of poverty in 2013?  Click here to explore the Supplemental Poverty Measure and learn about federal programs that have a proven record of poverty alleviation.

  • In 2013 half of Ohio households receiving SNAP benefits (50.2%) contained children under 18.
  • The median income for an Ohio household receiving SNAP benefits in 2013 was $16,477, compared to $55,151 for a household not receiving SNAP benefits.

Want to learn more about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?  Click here to read more about households that receive SNAP benefits across the United States or click here if you or someone you know is struggling to pay for food.

Poverty and Income

In 2013 the poverty threshold (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau) for a family of three was $18,552 for one year.  The national median household income in 2013 was $51,939, remaining statistically the same as in 2012.

  • Between the years of 2011 and 2013 in our six county service area, more than 306,000 people lived in poverty.
  • More than 3.8 million Ohioans lived below 200% of poverty in 2013, equaling more than 1 in 3 Ohioans (34.3%).  This was an increase of more than 475.000 Ohioans from 2007, or an increase of 14%.

Want to learn more about poverty and income in your area?  Click here to explore poverty, income, and general population statistics for your community.

  • In order to afford the 2014 Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Ohio ($720) without spending more than 30% of gross income on housing costs, a worker earning minimum wage must work 70 hours per week, 52 weeks per year.  This is the equivalent of 1.7 minimum wage jobs.

Child Poverty

The national poverty rate among children saw a decrease between 2012 and 2013, dropping from 21.8% to 19.9%.  In our service area child poverty remained high, at 25%.

  • In 2013 more than half of Cleveland children (54.4%) lived below poverty, while more than three in four (77.7%) lived below 200% of poverty
  • In 2013 more than one in four Cuyahoga County children lived in poverty (28%), while nearly half of children lived below 200% of poverty (47.6%).
  • In 2013 one in five children across the United States (19.9%) lived in poverty, while almost half of American children lived below 200% of poverty (44.6%).
  • Cleveland had the third highest child poverty rate among the 51 largest cities in the United States, with more than half (54%) of children living in poverty. Cleveland only fell behind San Juan and Detroit.

Want to learn more about child poverty and well-being in Ohio?  Click here to explore child well-being indicators in Ohio or click here to learn how the Greater Cleveland Food Bank is working to alleviate child hunger in our community.